Is what you do worthy of people’s valuable attention?

August 25, 2010

I was reminded today about the importance of getting an audience attention. This in turn reminded me about a book I read some years ago by Davenport and Beck, The Attention Economy. They defined the concept of attention as:

“Attention is focused mental engagement on a particular item of information. Items come into our awareness, we attend to a particular item, and then we decide whether to act.”

Thinking about this I again realized that there are so many things fighting for my attention. I may be aware of them, but till some cognition come into play I did not really give it any attention. I was thinking how many emails I get, how many new blog posts I become aware of in my RSS reader, status updates in Facebook, LinkedIn, not even to mention the tweets…

So how does one gets lured into giving something your valuable attention?  Then I remembered a copyblogger post which managed to get my attention earlier today “How to Write Eye-Catching Headlines transform Browsers into Buyers“. While the tips there is clearly aimed at people blogging for an income, many of it extrapolates well to other media.

Why would a recipient of an e-mail decide that it is worthy of actually applying some brain power to that e-mail you sent just now?  Why would somebody listen to your talk?  Why would some-one read your paper?

Why is anything worthy of your valuable attention?  I hope that my blog posts are worthy of your attention… Either way I intend exploring this issue a bit further in later blogs.

If you’ve read this far I hope I can assume that something got your attention. And since i don’t want to waste your valuable attention, why not share with me what you like. And, of course, also what you don’t like…


Lecturers at your service…?

August 17, 2010

Does lecturers do students a service? Of course we may respond.  But I think it is worthwhile to consider the notion of services and why people would see something as a service.

Lets draw an analogy to buying say an Internet service.  When will you be happy? There is two aspects to it. Firstly it must allow us to do something new or better. Connecting to the Internet, maybe faster than before… Fine. Secondly it must be doing so in a way that you are happy.  For the Internet service we may be looking at is it available enough, fast enough, and secure enough…

So now consider what we offer students.  The first criteria is easily met (I hope): we will provide them with new knowledge and skills.  The second criteria, however, provides a challenge. Why, well we need to provide it in a way they (the student, the customer) wants…  Granted, we live in world of constraints (I would have liked a 100G Internet connection at my house, but it maybe for now a bit unreasonable).  So we need to think about what the students can reasonable want. This brings about some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are we consistent in our delivery to students, do all of them get the same treatment?
  • Do we make the information accessible enough? Are we available enough?
  • Do we provide enough avenues to the information? Do we make our expectations clear enough?
  • Do we provide the material in formats they want? Or do we talk and chalk and let them read.  (news flash: that is not how young people operate anymore)

What do you think?  Do lecturers in general serve the customer?


Please rob me… location-based services and privacy

March 5, 2010

Location-based services may be the new “hot” thing for marketers (see Six Pixels of Separation blog entry), but Mitch Joel also points out the scary part. By checking in with services such as Foursquare you give away your location… Now if you were mischievous you could put that information to use. This has been “proved” by the “service” Please Rob Me, that shows that you can now quickly determine who is away from home… Fair enough you will still have to figure out where these people live etc.,  but how difficult can that be with tons of personal information lying around on the web waiting to be harvested… (of course if you check-in to your house… oops)

So by the way I have multiple personalities: thinking of robbing me — I am wherever you don’t want me to be…